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Cod psychology: QPR
4 October 2003
Maybe Town’s sluggish start to the season wasn’t a bad thing after all reckons Simon Wilson
Football pundits, in their infinite wisdom, regularly remind us that "a football season is a marathon not a sprint". After my recent participation in the Great North Run, I can see why. One could argue that the Great North Run is a half marathon, not a full marathon, but given earlier this year I struggled to run one mile, let alone thirteen-and-a-bit miles, let’s not be picky.
Doing a long run a run is a lot like a football season. There’s the studious and demanding preparation leading up to the big event so my body was in, er, tip-top condition. Compare that to the close season when a manager plots his season ahead, shapes his squad and prepares them so they can last the distance.
And then there’s the race itself. The anticipation at the start, the plodding pace of the opening stages, a quick sprint past some more sluggish foes, the race stopping asthma attack (who needs breathing anyway?), a cautious next few miles before a steady run builds up to a storming sprint at the end. Consider how you felt on the eve of the season, the opening games, how we played Wycombe off the pitch, the 8-1 thrashing...
The run was held in Newcastle - which meant travelling close to the scene of the 8-1 mauling at Hartlepool. After the Friday Night Debacle™, I struggled to picture Town finishing this season in a position even the glummest of pessimists would have considered satisfactory (ie – somewhere in the lower regions of mid-table). A week of endless quips of “what happened to your boys on Friday night?” was enough. The defeat buoyed me to make sure that my run wasn’t going to end up with a week of endless quips of “what happened to you on Sunday?”
Here’s hoping the defeat at the Victoria Ground was Town’s asthma attack. After a stuttering start, the boys will need to build up momentum as so they can sprint through to the finish line. Lasting the season is going to take endurance from the players, the club officials and those of you who attend the games, week in and week out. After all, they don’t want to get to the finish line and all their mates ask “what happened to you boys last season?”
Simon would like to thank all the Town fans that have pledged their support for his run. All proceeds from the run are going to the Meningitis Research Foundation.